CM urges Railway to reduce hauling tax

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Bangalore, Jul 23: Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on Wednesday, July 23, urged the Railway to reduce the 'Hauling Tax' for 'Golden Chariot', the State's luxury train aimed at wooing foreign tourists.

The Karnataka state Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC), running the luxury train, is now paying Rs 24 lakh per trip as hauling tax, amounting to 35 per cent of the total travel cost, while the other luxury trains 'Palace on Wheels' and 'Deccan Odyssey' have been exempted from the payment. Speaking after launching online reservation facility for the 'Golden Chariot', Mr Yeddyurappa said reducing the tax would help in developing tourism, leading to increase in revenue and employment generation.

Stating that priority was accorded to tourism development in the state, the Chief Minister said it was proposed to build airports in all the districts and to begin with, 12 airports would be built soon. Steps were being taken to develop infrastructure, including road connectivity to tourist spots and hotels.

Mr Yeddyurappa, also holding the Finance portfolio, assured funds for tourism development and called upon the Tourism Minister to come up with time-bound programmes. ''There is no dearth of funds, you come up with programmes, I will sanction funds,'' he added.

State Tourism Minister Janardhana Reddy, speaking after releasing 'The Trade Policy', said the 'Golden Chariot' was built at a total cost of Rs 32 crore, with the Union and state governments equally contributing.

The policy document outlined the roles, responsibilities and marketing initiatives by the trade partners and also the policy to be adopted for online reservation system.

UNI

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